What does occupation have to do with osteoarthritis?

People who type, operate machinery, bend repeatedly or who have to regularly lift and carry heavy objects (construction workers, landscapers, warehouse workers) are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Professional athletes whose sports include running, jumping or swinging are also at risk for injuries that may lead to osteoarthritis.

The repetitive motions of these jobs put constant stress on certain joints. Repetitive stress can injure the joints of the hands, spine, hips and knees by wearing away the cartilage that supports and cushions them, causing bones to rub against each other. People in these professions should talk to their employers about ways to reduce repetitive motion injuries. Athletes can work with trainers and use certain stretching and warm up techniques to cut down on their risk of injuries.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Any job that requires bending, lifting, kneeling or any other repetitive motions could increase your risk not just for tendonitis (like tennis elbow) but for osteoarthritis as well. These jobs include:

  • foundry workers
  • farmers
  • coal miners
  • bus drivers
  • manufacturing jobs
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

What you do for a living may affect your risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA). Jobs that require a lot of physical activity can contribute to osteoarthritis through extra wear and tear on the cartilage in the joints.

Desk jobs can increase your risk of OA for exactly the opposite reason: a lack of physical activity. If you don't exercise much, your risk of OA soars. No matter what, OA can make working a painful experience. Fortunately, there are plenty of simple ways to adjust your work to minimize stress on your painful joints. If you sit a lot, for instance, just getting up and moving around a bit every half hour can help. Ask your boss if you can have an ergonomic assessment by a professional who can help find ways to make your work area more comfortable.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.